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Stanford

Stanford University
Herbert Hoover entered Stanford with what was later known as the "pioneer" class in October, 1891. His classes gave him a good background in geology while his student life centered around business. Hoover set up a laundry and a newspaper route, which brought him income. He also worked for Dr. Branner, who presided over the Department of Geology. Bert was paid thirty dollars a month. Various other jobs and summer employment in Arkansas and California with the United States Geological Survey helped Herbert earn his way through Stanford with no loans. In addition to his work, he was elected treasurer of the junior class, and was the manager of the football and baseball teams.

During his senior year at Stanford Herbert Hoover met his future wife, Lou Henry. She was also a geology student whose love of fishing and the outdoors paralleled that of Herbert Hoover's enthusiasm for these outdoor activities. In May 1895 Lou HenryHoover graduated with a degree in geology. He spent time learning the mining business from the bottom up; he was employed in the deepest level of the Reward Gold Mine, near Nevada City, California. He worked a ten-hour shift, seven days a week at the rate of $1.50-$2.50 a day. He followed this job with one at the Mayflower Mine.

Herbert Hoover's big break came when he took a job as a typist with Louis Janin, an expert on western mining. Mr. Janin appointed Hoover assistant manager of the Steeple Mine at Carlisle, New Mexico, and later an investigator of hydraulic installations for gravel mines in Colorado. In the fall of 1896 Janin recommended Hoover for a position with the British mining firm of Bewick, Moreing and Company. They were looking for Americans skilled in gold mining practices to work in western Australia.

Herbert Hoover was slightly worried about his young age and limited experience, but Janin encouraged him to take the position. By March of 1897, Hoover was on his first trip east of the Mississippi in order to sail for London, and meet his new employers. By May of 1897 he arrived in western Australia. From there, a railroad journey took him inland to Coolgardie, described by Hoover as a place which suffered from, "red dust, black flies, and white heat." Local whirlwinds called "willie willies" could carry away a flimsy house in a cloud of dust. Later the mining headquarters were moved about 20 miles to Kalgoorlie which Hoover found no better.

His duties included sampling, surveying, and evaluating mines that were offered to his firm for purchase. Hoover traveled sometimes by camel which he said was "an even less successful creation than a horse," Australian Mineto mines with names like IOU, Siberia, and Never Never. Hoover's big mine find was the wealthy Sons of Gwalia Mine. He worked on all sorts of technical problems, and rose higher in the management ranks of the company during his time in Australia. Charles Moreing thought Herbert Hoover could help with the firm's fortunes in China, and so he offered Herbert a chance to go to China with a better salary. This in turn caused Herbert to consider his personal life, and in 1898 he cabled Lou Henry with a proposal of marriage. Herbert traveled to China by way of the United States. He stopped in Monterey, California, Lou's hometown, long enough for the couple to be wed. On that very afternoon they took the train to meet their steamer which would sail them to China.


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Last updated: June 20, 2001